Tuesday, August 26, 2014

So Yesterday We Almost Died in Colorado...

Justin had the day off yesterday, and of course we had all kinds of ideas of things we wanted to do to make good use of the freedom, and then we planned nothing.  This sort of thing happens to us all the time, so we ended up leaving the house around noon yesterday to drive three and a half hours to Dinosaur National Monument...after we stopped at Wal-Mart to replenish our supply of baby diapers.  Our drive took a little longer than anticipated getting out there, since we quickly realized that we now have to stop for diaper changes and nursing sessions.  

When we finally arrived at our destination we toured the quarry full of dinosaur bones.

We decided to take a little hike back down to the visitor's center.  It wasn't much of a hike, more like a walk, but the scenery was beautiful. 
After yet another diaper change, we went on a driving tour of the park, to see some petroglyphs and such.
We finished with plenty of daylight still left, so we then decided that it might be fun to leave the park, and drive around to the Colorado entrance, where there are several overlook spots on the way into the park that are reportedly very pretty.  We hadn't really planned on going to Colorado, but we figured that we had nothing to lose.  We stopped several times at some of the first little overlook spots.  We noticed a storm nearby, and it looked interesting, lot's of lightning off in the distance, but didn't give it too much thought.
Justin was starting to worry that it was going to be too dark by the time we got to the best overlooks, so he started speeding.  Because I'm a bit of a backseat driver I was all over his case about slowing down.  We were seeing a lot of deer and I was worried he was going to fly around one of the corners and hit one.  We finally got to the first major overlook, and we were at about 7,800 feet altitude, and there suddenly seemed to be quite a bit of lightning near us.  We reached the turnoff for that overlook, and neither Justin or I felt great about heading out there.  We were starting to see a lot of lightning out that direction, and it seemed uncomfortably close, so we skipped it and decided we'd go to the next one.  We kept driving and before we reached the next turn off we both started to feel very uneasy about the situation.  Now there was a lot of lightning and it seemed like it was closing in from all directions.  We pulled over and I got out to take one picture.  
Justin started pestering me to get back into the car with "if you get hit with lightning I'm going to be so mad at you!"  Another couple of bolts nearby and I decided to heed his advice and get back in the car.  We turned around and started heading back out of the park.  The deer were still an issue, so we couldn't go too fast.  In fact, we now noticed that the deer were travelling in herds.  Neither Justin or I have ever seen anything like it, and in retrospect it still seems very surreal.  We realized, after we finally saw the biggest buck I have ever laid eyes on lead a group of five other deer across the road in front of us in a dead sprint, that the deer were all headed to low ground.  This was when we realized that we were thousands of feet in the air on basically a flat plateau, with no trees, or really anything out there, except big, wide open spaces, and as Justin so eloquently put it "in our little metal box."  What initially seemed like a bad situation, suddenly became a REALLY bad, REALLY scary situation.  The storm rolled in until it was directly overhead, and we were still there, on that stupid road, nothing around us except lightning striking every couple of seconds, so close that several times Justin and I both felt the electric pulse from the bolts.  You know how you see the clouds light up from a distance, but no bolt comes out of them...  Since we were right there in the storm we could see the lightning shooting through the clouds over our heads, and worse yet, sometimes we just saw the flash and could tell that the lightning was pretty much directly overhead.  It was pouring rain, Justin was going as fast he dared on the wet roads, and then it turned to hail and started coming down so hard that our visibility was literally probably only 6 inches, and the lightning was hitting so close to the car at that point that I was certain that the next bolt would hit us for sure.  Justin remarked later that the bolts were so close that each one left him with an almost dazed feeling.  It was simultaneously one of the most spectacular things I've ever witnessed, and one of the most terrifying experiences of my life.  I was certain that even if Justin and I were to survive a bolt, that my one-month old baby in the back seat would not. 

We finally, after what seemed like forever, got into town.  I'm not sure I've ever felt so relieved.  Now we laugh about what idiots we were for not realizing the storm was headed our way, for not noticing that the deer were acting very strange, and mostly for driving all the way over to Colorado to not see a single one of the big overlooks, but to land ourselves in the middle of that mess.  Thankfully, our baby slept through the entire experience.  I'm not sure how she managed that, but I count it a blessing, because I don't know that my nerves could have handled her screaming in the background.  I saw this http://www.ksl.com/index.php?nid=148&sid=31297320 in the news this morning.  We were east of this, where allegedly these sorts of storms intensify, and of course, at almost 8,000 feet altitude.  The great news is, that not only did we survive the experience without being struck by lightning, hitting a deer, or hydroplaning off the road, but we arrived home at 2am, with our first little family picture: 

Saturday, August 23, 2014


Justin had the day off today, so we decided to go check out that store Scheels in Sandy that we drive by all the time, but have never visited.  It seemed like the whole experience would be more fun if there were kids along older than ours.  Not a problem, I called Sarah and arranged to borrow two of hers.  I love that Thor is selecting his own outfits these days.
To be honest we weren't that taken with Scheels.  It was kind of interesting, but I'm pretty sure we'll never be back.  The kids loved it.  They loved the ferris wheel, the fish tank (which I found to be rather underwhelming), the kid's play area (that looked like a large cage full of unruly children), and the cafe where we treated them to ice cream after spending the afternoon exploring the entire store.  

Here's a picture of them with Justin on the ferris wheel.  
And this is the photo that you can take that superimposes a game animal into the picture with you.  The kids didn't really seem to be getting the vision of how this works, but I suppose that makes the picture all the more amusing.
As predicted the best part about the Scheels experience was the kids.  The highlight of our day was actually at the very end when we were sitting in the cafe, and I had just finished nursing the baby.  She promptly barfed up seemingly everything she had just eaten and was acting desperately hungry again.  The conversation went something like this:

Thor: Great, now Julie is going to have to unlatch and feed her again.

(Although what we heard was "great, now Julie is going to have to unlatch her feeder again.")

Justin:  What?  Her feeder?

Winnie: [giggling] That's not what it's called.  It's called 'boobies.'  Erica told me.

Who knew that Erica was the authority on such matters? 

(For those of you who don't know them, Erica and Winnie are cousins, and only a few months apart in age.)

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Fun Times We're Already Having Together

I have been toying with the idea of creating a baby book.  You know, the sort of thing where you write down every little milestone, and tape in weird things, like apparently the little clamp from the umbilical cord...the nurse asked me if I wanted to keep it.  No, I would not like to take home that piece of trash to tape it in a book and assign some sentimental value to it.  We did however keep the little wrist bands.  My mother did not keep a baby book for me, and I've been wondering if I would care anything about it if she had.  I've decided that I probably wouldn't,  It would just be one more item that I'd drag from one residence to the next, because it's not the sort of thing one throws away, and assume that someday someone would want to look at it because they would care what day I first rolled over, sat up, or stood on my own.  Justin's mom made one for him that she keeps, and I thought it was very interesting.  Although Justin seemed entirely disinterested.  So I find myself torn on the issue, my baby might not think much of it, but maybe her spouse or kids will?  I finally decided that instead of buying a baby book perhaps I could just make one of my own, with little things that I think are interesting, and if my kid doesn't, that's okay.  I'll keep it for my own entertainment, and someday have her spouse look through it.  I will pressure him into pretending that he loves it, regardless of whether or not he does.  So I decided to start by making a cover page with her foot and hand prints on it.

We started yesterday.  After multiple attempts I was finally able to produce two little footprints.  We were both covered in pink and purple paint and I'm pretty sure she hated me, which I thought wasn't supposed to happen for another 13 years or something.  I decided to continue on with the hand prints, since she was already so angry with me, I thought I had nothing to lose.  I was wrong, this kid has a set of lungs on her.  My hearing was in jeopardy.  She was simply not having it.  I guess this is where I look like a total rookie parent...trying to get an open hand print of my three-week old baby.  I have learned.  I have learned that this is a stupid idea that will scar my baby and leave her with the impression that her mother is a torturer.  Lucky for me, her memory kind of sucks, and although I stupidly made yet another attempt at hand prints again this morning, with similar results, she seems to have already forgotten the experience...I hope.  All I have to show for my efforts are two little pink smears.  I suppose that will have to do.  I look forward to the days when she is old enough that we can do these sorts of projects together without it leaving one of us in dismay at the complete failure to accomplish the envisioned goal, and the other thrashing about and leaving little pink finger prints all over herself, her diaper, the carpet, her blanket, her mom, and pretty much everything BUT the cover page.  Someday she will realize how much fun we are having together.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Her First Real Bath

I gave our baby her first bath today.  I've been really looking forward to her losing the stump of an umbilical cord for a while now.  Partly because it had become more and more disgusting looking over time, but mostly because I couldn't wait to give her a real bath.  She abhors the sponge baths, but the real bath seems to have been a more agreeable experience.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

A Little Addition

When Justin and I first got married I came with an entire trailer full of gear.  Justin showed up with a couple of boxes.  I attributed this difference in personal possessions to the age gap, and the fact that I'd spent years living on my own.  This made sense to me, and still does.  Now what does not make sense to me is that our offspring has finally arrived and she has been accompanied with massive amounts of gear.  Our apartment has been hijacked and taken over by supplies for the youngest and smallest member of our family, and the one with a complete inability to procure these items for herself.  It's crazy.  We love it.

She and I spend hours together every day doing nothing, since Justin has given me strict orders to follow the doctor's advice to just be resting and recovering right now.  I don't follow those instructions quite as diligently as Justin would like.  I told him the other day that I feel like "I'm recovering" is just code for "this is a good excuse for me to be lazy."  To break the monotony, yesterday we played dress up together for a few hours.  She tried on all kinds of outfits that have been gifted to her by her Aunt Sarah.  I am fairly certain that one of us enjoyed the experience, and the other one hated it.  I made it up to her by allowing her to spend the rest of the day nursing, her favorite thing to do.  It's obvious to us that this is her favorite thing to do, but really any lingering doubts about that were put to rest the other night.  I fell asleep with her on the couch, while trying to let her dad get some sleep in the other room.  I woke up to her having managed to latch on and start nursing through my garment top.  I didn't even know such a thing was possible, but there you have it.

So far this whole baby thing hasn't been too bad.  Although, periodically Justin and I have remarked to each other that we pity her a bit for having us for parents.  We really have no clue what we're doing, most of the time.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Dread and Anticipation

As most people are aware, we're expecting the arrival of this baby pretty much any day now.  I'm about 38 1/2 weeks along, and I really think that every day I look larger.  At 35 weeks I was convinced that it wasn't possible for me to get any bigger.  I was wrong.  I will confess that I've even dreamed a few times of being a normal size again, and then I wake up to this bowling ball situation, and I would be lying if I said that I haven't felt a little disheartened.  There's still a part of me that hasn't fully embraced the idea that there actually is an end to all this.  Justin is enthusiastically counting down to the due date and every day informs me of how much time is left.  I, on the other hand, am the one in the bowling ball situation, and the descriptions I've read of how the delivery of said bowling ball is going to go has tainted my enthusiasm with a bit of dread as well.  My countdown has a note of hesitancy to it.

Justin is also in the middle of his summer training course at Camp Williams, and his days off have become very scarce.  His instructors did arrange for him to get the 4th and 5th of July off, which was an unexpected windfall for us.  We were very excited to be able to get those two days off to do something together.  It being summer and all we decided to immediately leave town and head to the mountains.  Actual camping isn't really on the table at this point, but hiking is the next best thing.  On the 4th we selected a little hike called Cecret Lake.  It was far from secret, but beautiful none the less.

I'd tell you how long and what the elevation gain was on that one, but everything we read gave drastically different numbers, so who knows.  Suffice it to say that it wasn't exactly the "stroll" described by one blogger, but I did it, so that should be some indicator of difficulty.

Despite the fact that the hike on the 4th made my hands swell up like little sausages, we still decided to go to a second lake the next day called Silver Lake, which actually is nothing more than a stroll.

Taken from the trail to the next lake.
We got bored with it, and kind of annoyed with the volume of other visitors.  I don't really like going out into the mountains to stand inches away from strangers who seem to have an undying fascination with the sounds emitting from their own vocal chords.  It's not my thing.  So, Justin and I talked about hiking a couple of miles up to another lake, and we decided against it, and then decided we should, and then against it again, and then there we were at the trailhead, and it just seemed like the obvious thing to do, so we did.  This one was about a mile and quarter with a 700 something elevation gain, so again not exactly strenuous under normal circumstances.  I found it to be a bit of a challenge, but I did manage to trudge my way up and back, and was rewarded by seeing a couple of moose, a beautiful lake, an escape from the crowds at the lower lake, and a return of the sausage fingers.  Definitely worth it.

One thing Justin and I noticed while doing this hiking is that a lot of people feel a need to make remarks to me about doing this stuff pregnant.  I've been the recipient of all kinds of words of encouragement and support from other hikers.  However, every now and again I would notice that we would pass someone on the trail that would look at us and say nothing.  I could see judgement all over their faces, but not towards me.  I would see them look at me like they feel bad for me, and then give Justin a withering glare as he passed.  Justin confirmed that he's also noticed it, and realized that some of them probably think he's a jerk that has dragged me out there against my will to do this stuff...and he doesn't care.  We loved it, and I was sorry when his days off were over.  This is the sort of thing that makes me feel really excited about getting this kid here.  Justin will be done with training in September, and I can finally transfer this little bowling ball over to him and the three of us can go enjoy what's left of our summer.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Our Neighbors Probably Take Pictures of Us

Today when I got home, I was dragging myself across the parking lot when I came across a small little bird that had fallen from it's nest and appeared to be in state of distress hopping around, sort of, but mostly just squeaking and falling over in the parking lot, waiting to get run over.  It wasn't making any sort of forward progress.  I couldn't just leave it there, which was my primary argument to Justin when I walked into the apartment with a baby bird in my hands, and he asked what in the world we were supposed to do with it.  A very valid question.  I resorted to an internet search and determined that the best thing to do would be to try and locate the nest from which it fell and drop it back in there.  This seemed like the best plan, primarily because the bird would presumably not get run over, or die on our hands.

We located the nest built in a corner of the parking cover.  Unfortunately it was too high for Justin to reach up and return the bird.  So after several moments of deliberation we decided that the best course of action would be for Justin to get down on all fours in the parking spot while I climb up on his back and deposit the bird back in the nest.  So that's what we did, and I'm certain that we looked absurd, particularly with me there 7 months pregnant teetering on my husband's back.  For the record the bird did appear to be more than a little bit eager to be returned to it's nest, there was a lot of tweeting and eager hopping to get back into it.  At the time I was just pleased with ourselves for completing the mission, but in retrospect I realize how ridiculous we must have looked out there, and I wish we had a picture of it, and it wouldn't surprise me to find out that our neighbors actually do.